A very rare Philip Christian mug, Liverpool, circa 1770

This very rare Philip Christian commemorative mug was decorated in the London studio of James Giles. On one side of the mug is an ornate gilt cartouche containing a grisaille head in profile, painted on a pale yellow ground. The head is crowned with a laurel wreath and surrounded by playful putti within a garland of flowers. The reverse is painted with floral sprays in dry blue. The handle is decorated with a gilt foliate motif and dots, and a gilt line surrounds the rim and also the base.

The pronounced Hanoverian features of the grisaille head are unmistakably those of King George II (1683-1760), and it is likely that the mug was made to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death. Compare the portrait on the mug with the classical marble bust of George II by John Michael Rysbrack (1693-1770), and also the portrait on the half crown coin in the last two images.

Provenance: With Simon Spero, London; the Stephen Hanscombe Collection; an English Private Collection.

Condition: There are four restored chips to the rim and a restored crack through the lower handle terminal. A small part of the ‘kick’ terminal has been restored. There is wear to the gilt line rim and also to parts of the gilt line surrounding base. No other damage or restoration.

Exhibited: Spero, Liverpool Porcelain, 1755-99, London, 2006, cat. no. 34; and The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators, Stockspring, London, 2008, cat. no. 169.

This mug is illustrated in Hillis, Liverpool Porcelain 1756-1804, page 236, plates 6.33 and 6.34.

Dimensions: Height 11.7 cm

Liverpool Porcelain 1756-1804, Maurice Hillis (2011).

Liverpool Porcelain of the Eighteenth Century, Bernard M. Watney, (Richard Dennis, 1997).

The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators, Stephen Hanscombe (Stockspring Antiques Publications, 2008).

Ref. ‘The decoration on this mug is laden with features and mannerisms associated with the Giles atelier, including the style and palette of the floral garland, the style and elaboration of the gilding and most especially the tone and arrangement of the ‘dry blue’ spray on the reverse, with its groups of auricula and its convolvulus and trailing tendril.‘ (Entry for cat. no. 34, Simon Spero, Liverpool Porcelain 1755-99).